Linda Houle is an author and the co-owner of L&L Dreamspell, a Texas based independent publishing company. Her favorite part of the job is designing book covers. She also runs a small wildlife ranch, Westwind Dreams, in the beautiful Texas Hill County.
She writes some of her fiction under the pen name Linndah, including the story for Erotic Dreamspell.
Here's a synopsis of her story:
"Black Earrings" by Linndah
When a padded envelope with black earrings and an invitation arrived in Marilyn’s mailbox she felt compelled to meet the man named Ladislov. He’d seen her work in a gallery, and wanted her to paint his portrait. His striking resemblance to Dracula both intrigued and frightened Marilyn. Did he know she had a vampire fantasy? Could he be one of the undead?
Loretta Wheeler: Hello Susan, thank you so much for having us here today.
My pleasure, Loretta. Tell us a little bit about you.
In the Erotic Dreamspell anthology I’m writing under the name L Reveaux. Works of mine that have a darker side, graphic language, or sexual content are written under the pen name, L Reveaux.
I live in the south, in Texas, with my Australian husband, and our cat named Lil’ Dickens. Our home is surrounded by lush vegetation with decks that run the parameters and a porch swing tucked at one side, which has become my most favorite spot to tempt my Muse to join me and “sit a spell”.
My writing style encompasses thrillers and the paranormal. I write under two names; Loretta Wheeler when I’m writing a more typical thriller, and L Reveaux for my darker works.
What's your particular story?
My piece, “Siren’s Call”, is releasing in the Erotic Dreamspell anthology, and is the story of Michael, a charter boat captain who thinks he has seen almost everything—until the day he witnesses something so unbelievable, alluring, and beguiling, that he finds himself compelled to enter the depths of another of reality—a reality that shimmers like a moon-kissed wave, and promises delights that will take his breath away—and may or may not return it.
Randy, fill us in on your writing and the story in Erotic Dreamspell.
Randy: I’m an award-winning creative director for Keller Crescent Advertising, the largest independent agency in the United States. I have also worked for DDB and Leo Burnett in Chicago before coming to Indiana about eight years ago. Although I have a novel coming out in 2011, so far I’ve only had short stories published, mostly with L&L Dreamspell, although I was thrilled to have a short story of mine picked as one of the "Best American Mystery Stories 2009" by Jeffery Deaver and Otto Penzler.
My story, "Sex Machine", is a bit of a science fiction story set in the future. It’s about a man who has never slept with a woman and wants to very badly. He sets out to discover why women aren’t attracted to him and how he can correct the situation. Believe it or not, it’s a humor piece.
LOL. I must read this!
Folks, what books came along at just the right time to influence your writing this particular genre?
Linda: This story is primarily a Dracula fantasy, set in modern day. So Bram Stoker’s Dracula was my influence.
Loretta: I don’t know that any books in particular influenced my work when writing in the erotic genre. For me, it is the telling of a story that is my initial intention, and then if the story has a sensuous side to it, I will sometimes go deeper into that aspect. The two occasions where I have crossed the line into the erotic area, I felt the story needed it to set it free and tell the tale with the full range of emotions involved.
Randy: Dave Barry
Where do you get your inspiration (and keep it clean!)
Linda: I’ve read and written a variety of genres. As a publisher it’s helpful to know what works and what doesn’t in a good story, no matter the genre. I’m a fan of Dracula stories, so I decided to write one of my own. It just happens to have sex—as many vampires tales do, so it’s part of the Erotic Dreamspell anthology!
Loretta: Sidney Sheldon’s writing has always made me feel that one could write a story and include a sensuous side to it, but the story remain dedicated to the storyline, not the sexual side. I feel the same about my works that have explicit sex, they cross the line to a degree, but it’s part of the plot, not the main emphasis.
Again, since my main focus is on the story, my inspiration could come from anywhere. In “Siren’s Call”, it came from a phrase used by one of the other Dreamspell authors, Sylvia Dickey Smith. The comment was made on her site that in a previous life she was a beautiful mermaid with gorgeous blonde hair and a tail to die for :) It stuck in my mind and I couldn’t seem to let it go, so I stopped work on the novel I was writing, took a break, and wrote the fishtail story (sorry couldn’t resist), “Siren’s Call”.
Randy: Newspaper articles. Advertisements. Watching people. Really, I can’t pin it down because it depends on the story.
What makes a good story in your opinion?
Linda: Anything that evokes emotion or curiosity. In the erotica genre, there should be a storyline besides the sex scenes—something to provide a reason for the sexual situations.
Loretta: A good story, in my opinion, is one that holds the reader, and hopefully does it so well that they don’t want to put the book down until they’ve finished it. That, to me, is a good story. And of course then there are great stories that make you darn snappish if anyone dares interrupt you before you’re finished.
Randy: Conflict. Interesting characters. A quest of some sort. I also like stories in which you learn a little bit about something of which you knew nothing. I wrote a suspense story that’s in Your Darkest Dreamspell about a glue factory. I put in little tidbits about the glue making process. I found that a little off beat but interesting.
How do you discipline yourself when writing?
Linda: The right story comes pouring out with no discipline required. If I feel I am forcing myself to write, then I set that project aside for a few months. Later, if it still feels forced, then it should be scrapped altogether!
Loretta: I’m laughing at this—I am truly not typical with my writing. There is a part of me that really wishes I were more typical. I try not to look at it as disciplining myself—that sounds way too restrictive to me. I do set deadlines and goals if the deadlines aren’t established. I tend to do my writing in increments of time rather than a daily routine, which seems to work better for me. Just visualize a temperamental artist at work accompanied by a wayward Muse.
Randy: I set aside an hour a day to write
When writing a story, are there any particular themes you feel passionate about?
Linda: For fiction, mystery and the paranormal/unexplained. For non-fiction, metaphysical themes, especially about the nature of consciousness.
Loretta: I suppose my underlying theme if you could call it that, is that we look at life, and others, with a little more broadmindedness. For me, everything is not in a box and categorized, so I often travel to places and concepts that aren’t the “norm”.
Randy: Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Writer Anais Nin once said, “…and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” How much sex is too much, and where do you draw the line in your writing?
Linda: When the reader actually becomes bored, rather than stimulated, by the sex scenes, then there’s too much sex and not enough story. It’s true that erotic is primarily about the sex but there needs to be a reason for the situation. An interesting storyline, balanced with just enough sex, is the goal.
Loretta: As I touched on earlier, I don’t write a story just for the sexual side. If it seems to flow in a more sensuous direction, then I write it that way. It was difficult for me initially. All the thoughts of how I would be perceived if I wrote more graphically, and if the person I am would be confused with my style of writing, bothered me. I finally decided to write the way I envisioned a story and try to stop anticipating people’s reactions. Once I came to this decision, it seemed much easier to do. I draw the line with rough sex enjoyed by the victim, and I don’t delve into S&M.
Randy: Too much is when I start getting embarrassed. I don’t really write erotic stories generally, so when I do, I put in just enough to push forward the story and to keep it interesting.
Do you have other writing projects underway?
Linda: Too many to count!
Loretta: I’m currently working on “The Image” which will be offered as an e-book, due to release by late summer or early fall of 2010. In it the reader is taken inside the belief of mind over matter, discovering that if it’s applied well; sometimes things aren’t what they seem.
After the release of “The Image” I will be returning to the editing of “The Midnight Dance/the Devereaux Chronicles”. This piece garnered me a PRO position within the RWA. I will also be completing the draft of “Dark Pleasures”, which L&L Dreamspell published as a short story in the anthology A Death in Texas.
Randy: I’m working on a follow up to Hang on Sloopy, my novel which is to be published by L&L Dreamspell in 2011.
Where can readers learn more about you?
Loretta: I have two websites: http://www.LorettaWheeler.com and http://www.lreveaux.com/
You can also find me on Facebook as Loretta Wheeler or on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/southernnuances
Randy: On the L&L Dreamspell site. I have a blog, but I must confess, I’m pretty lazy about blogging. I do tend to write something every day on my Facebook page.
Thanks for the interview and continued success to all of you!
(For more information about Erotic Dreamspell and other Dreamspell publications, go to www.lldreamspell.com)